More Butterflies, Birds and endemic Wildflowers.
Steve, Lynn and Adam, Day Seven.
and Alpine Accentor hunting. On the way through the fields near the house we started the list off with Little Owl (Mochuelo Europeo / Athene noctua), Azure-winged Magpies (Rabilargo / Cyanopica cyanus), a fly over Little Egret (Garceta Común / Egreeta garzetta), Collared Dove (Tórtola Turca / Streptopelia decaocto), Woodpigeon (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus), House Sparrow (Gorrión Común / Passer domesticus) and Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor) and once we were out on the Motorway we added Common Buzzard (Busardo Ratonero / Buteo buteo), Common Magpie (Urraca / Pica pica) and Common Swift (Vencejo Común / Apus apus).
Once we were up in the hills we started make our way towards the Albergue de Universitario where we parked and sorted out the tickets for the minibus up to the stop just below Veleta. On the way up in the bus we picked up a few species on the road side including Northern Wheatear (Collalba Gris / Oenanthe oenanthe), Tawny Pipit (Bisbita campestre / Anthus campestris) and Linnet (Pardillo Común / Carduelis cannabina). Once we were off the bus we made our way along a path that ran out below the road to the summit, along hear we saw Pallid Swift (Vencejo Pálido /Apus pallidus), House (Avión Común / Delichon urbica) and Crag Martins (Avión Roquero / Ptyonoprogne rupestris), Red-billed Chough (Chova Piquirroja / Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax), Common Kestrel (Cernicalo Vulgar / Falco tinnunculus) and after a while we found the first target, a very nice Alpine Accentor (Acentor Alpino / Prunella modularis) which was feeding on an area of snow. In the same area we picked up several species of wildflower including Eryngium glaciale, Eryngium bourgatii, Ptilotrichum spinosum, Meadow Saxifrage (Saxifraga granulata), Nevada Mullien (Verbascum nevadense), Silene boryi subsp tejedensis, Linaria aeruginea subsp. nevadensis and Erigeron frigidus.
Later we caught the bus back down to the Albergue and then went for a walk along the track out to the head of the Barranco de San Juan, in the car park we picked up Black Redstart (Colirrojo Tizón / Phoenicurus ochruros), several Black Satyr (Negra / Satyrus actaea) butterflies and lots
of Carpentor Bee's (Xylocopa violacea). We started the walk out from just above the barrier and quickly started to see lots more Black Satyr's along with Small Tortoiseshell (Aglais urticae), Oriental Meadow Brown (Hyponephele lupinnus), Silver-spotted Skipper (Hesperia comma) and a little further along the first of two late but newly emerged Apollo's (Apolo / Parnassius apollo subsp nevadensis). We steadily made our way out along the track until we reached the area of borreguillies, on the way we saw Niobe Fritillary (Argynnis niobe), Purple-shot Copper (Lycaena alciphron subsp gordius), Bath White (Blanqiverdosa / Pontia daplidice), Blue Spotted Hairstreak (Mancha Azul / Satyrium spini), Wall Brown (Lasiommata megera), Queen of Spain Fritillary (Issoria lathonia) and several of the rare Spanish Brassy Ringlet (Erebia hispania). Plants on and around the rocks included Sierra Nevada Violet (Viola crassiuscula / Violeta de Sierra Nevada), Sideritis glacialis, Nevada House Leek (Sempervivum vicentei ssp lainzii) and Foxglove (Digitalis purpurea var nevadensis). On the borreguillies we soon found some beautiful Gentiana pneumonanthe subsp depressa, Gentiana boryi, Comastoma tenellum, Starry Saxifrage (Saxifraga stellaris subsp robusta) and Viola palustris subsp palustris. Butterflies and Birds were also on site, new butterfly species included a dark female Meadow Fritillary (Mellicta parthenoides), Dark-green Fritillary (Argynnis aglaja), Silver-studded Blue (Plebejus argus hypochionus) and on the bird front we picked up Skylark (Alondra Común / Alauda arvensis), Raven (Cuervo / Corvus corax), Rock Sparrow (Gorrión Chillón / Petronia petronia) and a distant Golden Eagle (Águila Real / Aquila chrysaetos). Once we had checked out this area we made out way back to the car and had some lunch on the far end of the car park before dropping down into the town and taking one of the tracks back out onto the skiing slopes. On a damp area just as we started the walk there were dozens of Black Satyr's, several Silver-spotted Skipper, Clouded Yellow (Colias Común / Colias corcea), Oriental Meadow Brown (Hyponephele lupinnus), Small White (Artogeia rapae), Sage Skipper (Muschampia proto), Small Copper (Lycaena phlaeas) and Grayling (Hipparchia semele). Further along the track we saw a very nice Rock Grayling (Hipparchi alcyone), Small Skipper (Thymelicus sylvestris), Mountain Argus (Aricia artaxerxer montensis), Iberian Marbled White (Medioluto Ibérica / Melanargia lachesis) and Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui). Along the same area we had good views of Rock Bunting (Escribano Montesino / Emberiza cia), Common Whitethroat (Curruca Zarcera / Sylvia communis), Wren (Chochin / Troglodytes troglodytes), Greenfinch (Verderón Común / Carduelis chloris), Common Chaffinch (Pinzón Vulgar / Fringilla coelebs) and Blackbird(Mirlo Común / Turdus merula). Time had moved on so we started to make our way on down the hill and then back to the house.
Photographs from the top: Ptilotrichum spinosum, Snow wave at over 3000m, Purple-shot Copper (Lycaena alciphron subsp gordius), Steve in yet another dodgy to position, Gentiana pneumonanthe subsp depressa, female Meadow Fritillary (Mellicta parthenoides), Gentiana boryi, Comastoma tenellum and Rock Grayling (Hipparchi alcyone).